May 2016: Congratulations to the McNulty Program’s Class of 2016


L-R: Christina Mirarchi, Isabella Goodenough, Rachel Troxell, Christina Freeman, Kathleen Logan, Heidi Kurn and Courtney Hulbert

Under sunny skies, our McNulty Program Class of 2016 graduated on Saturday, May 14.  We will certainly miss seeing them in the halls of the Science Center, but are eager to stay in touch and hear about all of their accomplishments in the next phase of their careers.




McNulty Scholar Christina Freeman graduated cum laude with university and departmental honors in Biology. She was active in the Biology Club and Pep Band, and most recently served as a TA in Cells lab.

During her time at SJU, she worked in a variety of lab settings. She tested the effectiveness of slow-scale sand water filters in a study co-sponsored by the SJU Biology Department and the Institute of Catholic Bioethics. She also participated in SJU’s Phage Safari Lab, isolating and characterizing soil mycobacteriophages from the Philadelphia Zoo.  Over the past 2 years, Christina conducted honors research under the guidance of biologist Dr. Edwin Li, measuring the transmembrane domains of the Mucin 1 protein and exploring how to characterize its activity which, when unregulated, has been associated with skeletal abnormalities and cancer. In February, Christina attended the Biophysical Society Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, CA to present her findings.

Upon graduation, Christina expects to begin a post-baccalaureate research position at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C.


McNulty Scholar Heidi Kurn graduated cum laude with a degree in Chemistry. She came to SJU four years ago all the way from Michigan. While here, she worked as a TA in the General Chemistry Lab and volunteered in the ER of Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, PA. She was also an active member of the SJU Pep Band, and was named president this year.

During her time here, Heidi discovered a love of travel. She spent a junior semester abroad in Sydney, Australia, where she studied at Macquarie University. And she participated in the Winter Immersion Program in Ecuador this past January, volunteering through Rostro de Cristo. Last summer, she worked under the guidance of chemist Dr. Jean Smolen to determine the concentration of inorganic and pharmaceutical compounds in the Belmont water supply.

After graduation, Heidi plans to take a gap year to apply to medical schools while interning as a medical assistant at the Pennsylvania Dermatology Group in Huntingdon Valley, PA.

McNulty Scholar Kathleen Logan graduated cum laude with departmental honors and a degree in Biology. She also minored in Healthcare Ethics and Behavioral Neuroscience. During her time at SJU and in the McNulty Program, Kathleen has served as a GEOKids Fellow, as well as a Fellow in the Institute of Catholic Bioethics. She was an active participant in the Dean’s Leadership Program and served as an intern at the Franklin Institute, helping to plan the 2015 Philadelphia Science Festival. Last summer, Kathleen worked as a summer associate for the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers in New Jersey, conducting a qualitative evaluation of care coordination intervention programs.

Kathleen also completed several research projects. She assessed the reliability of the Baseline Concussion Test (ImPACT) for high school athletes under the guidance of psychologist Dr. Philip Schatz. At the Institute for Catholic Bioethics, she helped develop a program to collect used eyeglasses for donation to clinics and hospitals in Nicaragua, Uganda and Sierra Leone. She also worked with chemist Dr. Jean Smolen and Peter Clark, S.J in a water filter project, which was presented to the SJU Board of Trustees as a research highlight in the College of Arts and Sciences.

In the coming year, Kathleen has been named a Fellow in Saint Joseph’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Program, where she will complete her master’s degree in secondary education (biology) while teaching biology and physical science to high school students at Mercy Vocational High School in Philadelphia.


hulbertgradMcNulty Associate Courtney Hulbert came to us just 3 short years ago as part of the 3+3 Doctorate in Physical Therapy program of SJU and Thomas Jefferson University. She graduated with a degree in Biology and will now go onto to complete her Doctorate with a Dean’s Scholarship for the College of Health Professions at Thomas Jefferson University.

At SJU, Courtney was a leader in so many ways. She was a Student Ambassador for the Office of Admissions. She was part of the leadership team of Down To Pray Christian Fellowship. And she was also the Connections Team Coordinator for GracePhilly BIC, helping to spearhead the establishment of a new church campus in Center City. This year, under the direction of biologist Scott McRobert, PhD, she participated in a research project at the Philadelphia Zoo, examining the social interactions of a family unit of white-faced saki monkeys.

Upon graduation and before starting at Jeff, Courtney will complete a 10-week internship with GracePhilly to focus on pastoral care and community outreach.


McNulty Fellow Isabella Goodenough graduate with a degree in Chemistry. She served as the Secretary of the Molloy Chemical Society and worked as a Noyce Summer Intern, leading a summer science camp for 20 middle school students. She was also the lead teaching assistant for the Food Chemistry course.

Since 2014, Isabella has worked with physicist Dr. Paul Angiolillo, analyzing electron spin relaxation behavior and internal reorganization energies of doped n-conjugated porphyrin oligomers. Her research has culminated in the publication of an article in the Journal of Physical Chemistry, and she has also presented her work at a local conference of the American Chemical Society. This summer, she will present her work at the ACS National Meeting here in Philadelphia.

Starting later this summer, Isabella will begin pursuing her PhD in Chemistry (with a focus in Physical Chemistry) at Temple University.

mirarchigradMcNulty Fellow Christina Mirarchi graduates cum laude with a degree in Biology and a minor in Educational Studies.  Christina served as a GeoKids LINKS Undergraduate Fellow, presenting biology lessons to students at Bishop McDevitt High School in Wyncote, PA. She was also an Assistant Swim Coach for the Hawk Hill Swim Team and a Resident Assistant in the SJU residence halls. In May, she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, as well.

For the past two years, she has worked in the lab of biologist Dr. Catalina Arango to identify the phosphotransferase system (PTS) protein that interacts with the global regulator of carbon catabolite repression in Sinorhizobium meliloti, a symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacterium. She received a Sigma Xi Grant in Aid of Research to fund her work and was also the recipient of the Claver House Award for outstanding work on a departmental thesis. Last summer, Christina presented her findings at the Northeastern Microbiologists: Physiology, Ecology and Taxonomy Conference in Blue Mountain Lake, NY.

Upon graduation, Christina has been selected as a Fellow in the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Program at the University of Notre Dame. She will be earning her Masters in Education while teaching science to 6th, 7th & 8th graders at an Archidiocesan school in Atlanta, GA.

troxellgradMcNulty Fellow Rachel Troxell graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Chemistry and a minor in English. She served as the President of the Molloy Chemical Society and was the Program Coordinator for SJU’s Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge, which sends 100+ students on six service trips across the country. She was also recently inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.

This year, as part of the McNulty Fellows Program, she spent the summer on campus in the lab of chemist Dr. Mark Forman, studying the effects of bond angle distortion on the structures and properties of alkenes, which are a class of organic molecules that contain carbon-carbon double bonds. In March, she traveled to San Diego to present her findings at the American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition. For her contributions, she recently received the Philadelphia Section of the American Chemical Society Scholastic Achievement Award.

In the fall, she will be attending the University of Pittsburgh to pursue a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.